Touching Bass: Typesun
When not banging drumsticks against a drum set of some sort, Bristol’s Typesun can be found melding together an eclectic buffet of soul food for listeners to tuck into. Initially hooked on the mellow ambiance of ‘The P.L.’ it’s now his album, Work Is Love Made Visible, that has wooed its way into my iTunes with an alluring delve into neo-soul, bass and experimental smoothness. We caught up to chat origami, drum programming and the nuances of Bristol.
Also, be sure to check out the Touching Bass mix series, which continues alongside all features via Mixcloud.
How long have you been drumming for?
I’ve been drumming since I was about 12 when I started in secondary school. I had keyboard lessons when I was a kid, never really got on with them. It was that classic thing of in one ear and out the other. I understood a little bit about playing rhythms and it seemed a lot easier to do three or four things at once rather than all 10 fingers on the piano.
Does that mean that you focus quite a bit on drum programming when you’re producing?
It’s interesting because to begin with I focused a lot on chopping up drums and doing things with that hip-hop ethic of digging up a break and cutting it but keeping it real neat. People like DJ Shadow and Krush, were influences on that front and obviously the previous generation of US guys who put it together in that way like Premo and Dimond D. I was also really into jungle and I just wanted to be like Photek or Dillinja. During that time I was playing free jazz, soul, hip hop in a bunch of different bands though and from that and from DJing, I got into what makes songs work. Being the guy at the back just holding it down, I listened to a lot of songs. So although I do focus quite a bit on drum programming, certainly on the album, it’s more to do with songs than it is to do with drums.
As for DJing, what stuff do you find yourself straying towards when you’re playing out?
Being a drummer, I do find myself leaning towards a lot of drum-led tracks, but that’s not necessarily what works crowds. Me and the other two guys from FallingUp have a term ‘manbeat’, which can be anything from any different genre, but is basically stuff where the guys on the dance floor get really pumped up, screw their face up and all the girls leave. So basically I try to balance out that urge with other things. I got really into broken beat, IG Culture, 4Hero, Bugz In The Attic stuff and coming from a predominantly hip-hop and soul background. I liked the way they would represent so many different vibes over the course of a night and it would still all flow.
Are you sticking with vinyls or have MP3s/CDJs lured you over?
I stick to vinyl if I can. During my last set someone leant over the turntables and was like ‘wow, he’s playing vinyl’ which was a weird thing to hear in one of the biggest clubs in the city. Seems like a bit of an oddity nowadays but it’s what I’ve always worked with.
I read that you class Peverelist as an influence, so what was it like having him jump on the remix of Heart Maths?
He’s just been running things in Bristol for a while and the influence he’s had as a label head and a producer has been really important. Pev was the first guy to put Guido on [frequent Typesun co-collaborator who surfaced on Peverelist's Punch Drunk with his debut LP 'Anidea'] and it was inspiring to know that someone was willing to push a sound which was so different from everything else that was going on. It’s been great to have him on board for the remix and as per usual he completely smashed it.
Does Bristol come across as quite a close-knit community to you?
Bristol is quite a small place, and right now it’s almost like a lot of the music is centred on just one, long road. There’s some statistic I remember reading that Bristol has more musicians per head than any other city in Europe. The community based around playing vinyl is quite tight but it’s also very welcoming. As with anywhere there are core groups who make things happen and have a lot of influence but it’s not like there’s a concerted effort to keep people out. It’s just people that know each other and get on.
What do you get up to when you’re not doing music?
There was a time where I was overly obsessed with getting things done musically, doing too much, getting worked up about finding time to finish things and when it started becoming more like hard work than fun I decided, ‘hold on, I need to live my life and then the music will come out of that’. I think that’s how most of my favourite musicians operate anyway, certainly with people like Saul Williams. He’s obviously an intensely creative guy, but his mission is to be a decent human being first and foremost. I’m not sure if that answers your question, but it’s more the sense that music is something I do as a result of experiences in my day to day life. My day to day life is the same as most people’s: work, food, sleep, competitive origami.
Now that the album’s done, what’s next up?
I finished the LP a while back, but it’s been a lot of work getting the release up together so I’ve just started getting back in the studio and writing new music, rather than just using it as a place to write emails. I’ve also been getting back on the drum kit and working on the live show. It’s been good getting out there and gigging that. There are a ton of excellent remixes for the album done and another couple of videos to finish off, which will be making their way out into the world, as well as a 7 Arrows LP at some point.
Typesun’s ‘Heart Maths’ is out now on 12”vinyl and DL and his debut album ‘Work Is Love Made Visible’ will be out via Root Elevation and Believe Digital early in the new year. You can listen to KOAN Sound’s mix from the last interview here
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